Why Santa and the Elves say “Ho! HO! HO!”


A few of us elves and Santa were sitting around a cosy fire warming our toes and roasting marshmallows waiting for Klem to arrive for our weekly meeting last week. Klem is always late, for everything. When he finally arrived, we shouted our customary greetings to each other, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” As we said that, Santa started to laugh. Not just a little laugh, but one of his deep belly laughs, and Santa has a deep belly from which to call one of these laughs.

Klem said “Santa, why are you laughing at me? You know I don’t try to be late, I just can’t get places on time.”

Santa responded, “Klem my friend, I’m not laughing at you. I know you try to be on time, but you have been late for everything since before you were born, which you were late for too, I should add. No, hearing everyone say ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ reminded me of how we came to say ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ as our greetings. Because all of you are so young, you don’t know the story. Well, since Klem was only a little late, we have some time for a little story.”

After everyone refilled their hot coco and got a new marshmallow to roast, Santa continued. “This story dates back to what Mrs. Claus and I were doing during one particularly hot summer day about three centuries ago. As you know, Mrs. Claus and I have a big garden and one day we were working in it using garden hoes to get rid of some weeds. Mrs. Claus was busily working away, but I fell asleep on a bench in the shade under a big tree. My garden hoe leaning against the tree, also taking a nap.”

Santa with garden hoe“Santa, is that the great big garden Carmela takes care of?” Gwillym asked.“Why yes it is Gwillym. I hear the two of you spend a bit of your free time wondering around in the garden. I hope you two don’t accidently get lost in there.” Santa replied with a wink.

With this Carwyn blushed and the rest of us started laughing. Gwillym didn’t know we already know he and Carmela spend a lot of time together.

“Well, anyway,” Santa continued “I was about an hour into my second nap when Mrs. Claus started shaking me. When I woke up a little, she handed me my garden hoe, and, looking at me straight in the eye, she stated ‘Hoe! Hoe! Hoe!’ in unmistakable terms. I think she was suggesting that I should help her to hoe the weeds in the garden. This was only fair since I ate a lot of what came out of that garden. Anyway, at the very moment Mrs. Claus was calling out ‘Hoe! Hoe! Hoe!’ to me, a number of elves were passing by, and they thought that Mrs. Claus was calling out ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ to them as a greeting. Ever since that scolding Mrs. Claus gave me, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” spread throughout the North Pole, and now all of us use it as our greeting.”

“Santa, is that really why we say ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ to greet each other?” Heilyn asked.

“Of course it is. Would I ever tell you a tall tale? Especially one so easy to check with Mrs. Claus about.” Santa replied with a little smirk on his face.

“Sebastian, enough of my stories, what is first on the agenda this week?”

More Printable Christmas Word Searches

Hi kids! Can you believe there are only a few weeks left until Christmas? I know I can’t. Things are super busy here at the North Pole. The reindeer have been busy training so they are all ready to pull Santa’s sleigh; the elves have been making and finishing toys at a furious pace; and the engineers have been fine tuning the sleigh for the big night.

I know some of you will be getting out of school soon and will need an activity to keep you busy for a little while. So you don’t forget everything you learned in school, I asked Eirlys, one of our promising young wordsmiths, to put together a couple of word searches for you. These are like the ones we did last year. One word search is based on the reindeer’s names. I know you all know their names. The other word search is based on Christmas decorations. For these two, the words can be found going up or down, diagonally, or frontways or backways. I hope you have fun.

Eirlys probably won’t like me telling you this, but because most of you likely aren’t familiar with her name, I thought I would tell you a little story. Eirlys means “snowdrop”. On the day Eirlys was born, her mother was was walking down the lane when a single drop of snow fell on her nose. While this isn’t that strange in winter, Eirlys was born on a warm, sunny day in July. Because we love snow sooooooo much up here at the North Pole, we believe this is a fantastic omen and foretells that great things will happen. In this case the great thing that happened was the birth of a healthy baby girl.

Have your Mom or Dad help you print one of the word searches below. They can click on a picture and it will open up in a new window and they can print it from with the browser or save it to your computer to print later.

Have Fun!!!

Christmas Decorations Word Search
Reindeer Name Word Search

Winter Funland

Hi Kids. Something quick and easy. Santa’s sleigh is all packed, his hot cocoa is brewing, and the reindeer are rested. Santa will be off on his trip soon.

The picture shows what happens when Santa is away (not on Christmas Eve of course). You know what they say: “When Santa is away, the elves will play!”

Various items in the picture above are clickable. Clicking them will make them do things. Can you find them all? The picture will be bigger if you click the little button on the bottom right of the picture.

How "Merry Christmas" is Said Around the World

If you click on the map above it can be made bigger so it is easier to see. You can click and drag to see a different area and zoom in and out. If you click on an icon you will be given the country name and how they say “Merry Christmas.” The color of the icon generally shows countries that say Merry Christmas the same. That is true except for the square turquoise icon that shows countries with their own saying.

Hi Kids. Aloysius has let me show you another map he has been working on for Santa’s big trip. As you know, Santa visits kids all around the world and who speak many languages. So Santa can celebrate with all of the kids he has learned how “Merry Christmas” is said in different languages.

The map and table also come in handy when Santa is undercover. Sometimes, Santa likes to walk around a town dressed in a different suit than his typical red suit. There is a rumor Santa even likes to wear shorts if it is warm. He likes to see what people are up to and how they celebrate Christmas. Knowing a bit of the local language helps Santa walk around without being noticed.

Are any of you traveling to another area for Christmas or do any of your friends say something different than you? If so, maybe this map and table will help you too. Keep spreading Christmas Cheer!

I hope I didn’t make many mistakes or forget anywhere. How many different ways can you remember? You can also see how language is shared between people of both different and similar cultures.

Click this link to see the list – it is very long

Printable Word Searches

Hi kids! I hope you’re having a good week and spreading lots of Christmas Cheer. Up here at the North Pole we are busy finishing the toys and wrapping them. Our sleigh engineers are double checking the sleigh to make sure every bolt is tight, the runners secure, and polishing everything to a high luster. We’re almost ready for Santa’s big trip. The reindeer are taking it easy. We don’t want any of them to injure themselves this close to Christmas eve or get too tired.

There is an easier word search, a medium difficulty word search, and a harder word search for the older kids. Which one can you finish?

Have your Mom or Dad help you print one of the word searches below. If they hold their cursor over the images it will show if it is easy, medium, or hard. They can click on a picture and it will open up in a new window and they can print it from with the browser or save it to your computer to print later.

Have Fun!!!

Easier Christmas Word Search
Medium Christmas Word Search
Harder Christmas Word Search

Reindeer Training Program

As you kids know, Santa’s reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh all around the world on Christmas Eve. That is more difficult than you could ever imagine. Santa and his reindeer visit every country and stop at every house with kids. And remember, Santa’s sleigh is very heavy – it is filled with toys and presents to put under every tree and goodies to put in all of the Christmas stockings hanging inside of every house.


Keeping Santa’s reindeer healthy and fit for their important job on Christmas Eve is my responsibility now. I thought I would give you the inside story about how Santa put me in charge of Santa’s reindeer and how I keep them healthy and fit.

Many, many, many years ago, Santa came to me and said: “Sebastian, I would like for you to look after my reindeer to make sure that they are ready to complete our entire trip on Christmas Eve.” This happened after a year when a few of the reindeer – I won’t mention names here, but you know who you are – were so out of shape they almost couldn’t pull the sleigh to kids’ houses in the last few countries. Santa almost couldn’t finish Coach Santahis trip. Luckily, a nice and smart little boy and girl left magical reindeer food out for the reindeer. This boost of energy revived the weary reindeer and Santa could finish his big trip. I bet you can guess who got a few extra presents under their tree that year.

Ever since then, Santa sends magical reindeer food to a few kids around the world to put outside their houses to keep his reindeer happy and full of energy. Other kids frequently put out carrots for the reindeer. Reindeer love carrots. After all, Santa gets lot of cookies and milk or hot cocoa to keep him full of energy, so why shouldn’t his trusted reindeer get a few treats too?

It was clear that we needed to do something to make absolutely, positively, super duper sure that this problem never happened again. Because there are more and more kids every year and they live farther and farther away, we wanted to make sure the reindeer had the energy and stamina to visit every kid around the whole world. So, Santa and I agreed to do whatever was necessary to make sure that his reindeer were healthy and in great condition for Christmas Eve.

We started out by making sure that Santa’s reindeer were eating the right foods. We make sure the reindeer have healthy hay and grass growing in the lush meadows in the high mountain valleys that are close to the North Pole. We also started a garden just for the reindeer that grows vegetables like snow peas and winter squash.

We also started an exercise and conditioning program. This program goes all year long to help build up the reindeers’ strength and stamina. Every year we start this program the month following Christmas. At first every reindeer spends one hour per day pulling Santa’s small sleigh all by themselves. Each week we add additional toys and presents to the sleigh. This goes on until each reindeer can pull 100 toys and presents in Santa’s small sleigh for a few hours without getting overly tired.

After the reindeer have strengthened their muscles, we start working with them in teams of two reindeer at a time, and then four at a time, and then all of the way up to the full team. This helps get the reindeer used to talking with one another, and cooperating and working together. This is a very important for Santa’s reindeer – and for all kids to learn as well.

This daily exercising and conditioning goes on right up until two weeks before Christmas. Then all of the reindeer get a little time off to rest and get ready for their big trip with Santa on Christmas Eve. Santa’s reindeer have been able to make the entire trip on Christmas Eve ever since we started this program. That makes all of the kids happy, and happy kids make Santa happy.

We’re getting close to the Big Day! I know you can feel the energy and excitement. I know I can. I watch the Christmas Spirit Meter and I can see your excitement build over time. I know Santa’s sleigh is going to fly high and fast this year. Keep helping out and spreading Christmas Cheer!!!

Christmas Word Scramble

Oh no. Santa drank too much hot chocolate last night and all that sugar went right to his head! Does that ever happen to you? While Santa was all confused he was writing a list of some of his favorite things. The problem is that he scrambled all the words. He has asked me to help him unscramble the words and make a correct list. I’m so busy making toys and getting things ready for Christmas I am running out of time. Can you help me unscramble Santa’s list?

I know some of the words will be hard for some of you, so get as many as you can.

p.s.: I’ll put a good word into Santa for your help.

Have your Mom or Dad help you print the crossword puzzle. They can click on a picture and it will open up in a new window and they can print it from with the browser or save it to your computer to print later.

Christmas Word Scramble

Christmas Crossword

I have another brain teaser for Santa’s favorite kids. This time it’s a crossword puzzle. The puzzle uses words associated with Christmas.

I think the boxes for the words look like paths through deep snow. We get lots of snow here at the Workshop. Us elves just love playing in the snow. We build snowelves, and go sledding, and have snowball fights. Do you ever play in the snow?

Have your Mom or Dad help you print the crossword puzzle. They can click on a picture and it will open up in a new window and they can print it from with the browser or save it to your computer to print later.

Christmas Crossword

Santa Claus’s Name Around the World

If you click on the map above it can be made bigger so it is easier to see. You can click and drag to see a different area and zoom in and out. If you click on an icon you will be shown the country name and that country’s name for “Santa Claus.”

Hi Kids. I asked Aloysius, our Head Map Maker, to prepare a map for you. This map shows the name kids around the world use for Santa. Many of the names mean the same thing, usually either Santa Claus or Father Christmas, but are said in their language. Do you have any friends who refer to Santa by another name? Don’t worry, no matter what name kids use, the letters all get to Santa.
Click Here for the Complete List